Hayden track gains confidence from difficult workouts and coaching staff | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden track gains confidence from difficult workouts and coaching staff

Hayden senior Faith Day takes a leap over the high jump pit on Wednesday, April 10, at Hayden High School.
Leah Vann

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Hayden High School track team wants to fill a bus down to state.

So far this season, it’s looking like a possibility.

“Probably got half the team is in that top 25-ish range in their events,” Hayden coach Mike Crum said. “We’ve got some work to do yet, through regionals to cut times and increase distances, but they’re working hard at it, I have full faith we will get there.”

Like most track teams on the Western Slope, the Tigers were limited to indoor practices at the beginning of the season — running the hallways, doing block work and jumping over foam hurdles. Now, they’re getting outside to Breeze Basin Road, running 12 40-second sprint intervals with two minutes of rest in between, or 11 120-meter sprints at Dry Creek Road.

They’re hoping the old ski hill will clear up for some hill workouts, too.

“In previous years, we’ve had things that didn’t prepare us for meets,” Hayden senior Faith Day said. “The first two weeks before state are the hardest weeks to prepare for and if you don’t have the coaching to get you there, it sucks.

“Having the workouts we need to put in, the workouts we’ve done this week, you can feel it.”

Hayden senior Hunter Hatcher throws the discus at practice on Wednesday, April 10, at Hayden High School.
Leah Vann

This is the first year under head coach Mike Crum, and so far the athletes are seeing drastic changes. Day adds that she’s never cleared the 4-foot-10-inch mark in high jump this early in the season. She did it in the second meet, and now has hopes of not only reaching her personal best of 4 feet 11 inches, but also surpassing it to reach 5 feet 2 inches. The rigorous sprint workouts have built strength to her jumping.

Hayden track and field
March 15: at Rifle Invite
March 29 to 30: at Mickey Dunn
April 6: at Eagle Valley Invite
April 16: at Battle Mountain Invite
April 20: at Rangely Invite
April 26: at Clint Wells Invite
May 3 to 4: regionals
May 9: at Joe Shields Invite
May 16 to 18: state

Day has been to state in the high jump, 4×400-meter relay and sprint medley relay two of the past three years. She’s seen the progression from when the Tigers sent just one athlete to state her freshman year to eight her sophomore year and 12 her junior year.

“For a small school to have about 13 people as coaches or volunteers helping this program is impressive,” Crum said. “There’s a lot of vested interest, a lot of satisfaction seeing these guys achieve personal records. I think to start with I have to give credit to the middle school track program, for the last four-plus years, we’ve had 40-plus kids, we take that as a feeder program in the high school.”

Where they stand

The team of 42 kids includes six seniors, but the Tigers are not to be underestimated. Hayden’s boys 4×400 relay is currently No. 1 in the state in Class 2A, while the girls sit at No. 2.

The boys 4×800 relay is No. 3 in Class 2A, but has only run once, and includes a contingent of state-qualifying cross country runners: senior Chris Carrouth, senior Theo Corrello, freshman Wyatt Mortenson and sophomore Keaton Knez.

The direction the Hayden track team is headed is the product of increased school pride and a dedicated coaching staff, according to senior Justin Fry. Fry, a football and wrestling athlete, joins the track team his senior year with hopes to podium at state.

Hayden senior Justin Fry practices coming out of the blocks in the gym on Wednesday, April 10, at Hayden High School.
Leah Vann

“I’ve had at least athleticism-wise, my best year ever in any sport,” Fry said. “Being my last year and never doing track before, I thought it would be a great time to do it.”

Fry is a member of the boys 4×200 relay, which is near its goal of reaching a time of 1 minute, 40 seconds. The team was off by 0.58 seconds last week, and by regionals, the hope is to reach 1:38.00 to make it to state.

Freshman Micah Crum is also on the boys 4×200 relay team, which was sixth at last weekend’s Eagle Valley Invite, and competes in both high jump and the 300-meter hurdle, two events his dad and coach competed in as a track athlete. His personal best in the hurdles is 47.55 seconds, while high jump remains a work in progress.

As a team, Hayden has competed at most meets with Class 4A and 5A schools. While the results don’t always look as good stacked up against the competition, it’s produced the times or marks needed to be the best in Class 2A. Crum believes that his son, Micah, and Day could even contend at state in the 300 hurdles, even though those aren’t their top events. The obstacles of such a difficult race have made them better sprinters on the relays.

“They’re getting beat every week,” Crum said. “But that’s what makes them better.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lvann_sports.

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